Sociology, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Bosch, Brandon. 2023. "Does Being Known Matter? Analyzing the Effects of Name Recognition by Instructor and Student." College Teaching.


Copyright © 2023 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


Trying to learn the names of students is a challenging semester ritual for many professors and graduate students. In support of this endeavor, research suggests that learning students’ names promotes greater student participation and engagement (Auster and MacRone 1994; Pearson and Lucas 2011). However, both research and practical pedagogical advice has typically focused only on the importance of students believing that instructors know their names. Consequently, we know little about students feeling recognized by name by other students. To further explore this issue, this study analyzes both the predictors and outcomes of student name recognition. The results of the study underscore the value of instructors learning names, showing that the belief that an instructor knows one’s name is linked with a lower likelihood of feeling nervous while speaking in class. Classroom characteristics were also linked with student experiences, with finding the class interesting and the more lecture-oriented class both being associated with students perceiving greater classroom community.